A FITNESS consultant from York has returned from a trip of a lifetime training abroad in a rare and ancient Thai martial art.

Graham Kavanagh, of Dale Street, off Nunnery Lane, is a specialist exercise instructor and runs his own business, Graham Fit Personal Training.

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York Press: Graham Kavanagh out in ThailandGraham Kavanagh out in Thailand (Image: Supplied)

As The Press reported at the time, Graham, now 51, was selected last year as the only person from York, to go to Thailand to train at the prestigious Buddhai Swan institute of swordsmanship in Ayutthaya.

Now he's returned from his ten-day trip carrying out around six hours or more a day of training to the highest levels under Thai masters.

He said: "I think a lot of people thought it would just be about picking up a couple of swords and doing a few moves.

"It was wonderful to be accepted as a student going back to the history of Krabi Krabong and the current members of the institute are my family if you like."

York Press: Graham practising his skills Graham practising his skills (Image: Supplied)

Graham became a student of Krabi Krabong - one of three forms of Thai martial arts in Manchester.

"Krabi Krabong is the Royal warrior art and Thai weapons system and there is more than just fighting to it, there's also the discipline, culture and education of this rare martial art is important to me and something I envisage doing for years to come.

"It is becoming a dying martial art form. Very few who know about the traditional Thai martial arts, it is important to me that traditions and knowledge are kept alive and promoted.

"I’m not aware of anyone in York, nor indeed all of Yorkshire or further afield, who train in Krabi Krabong nor have ever trained at the Buddhai Swan from our region of the UK."

York Press: A statue showing Krabi Krabong warriorsA statue showing Krabi Krabong warriors (Image: Supplied)

Graham was training at the Buddhai Swan Institute, the gold standard of the Thai martial arts.

"This experience would never have happened had I not trained hard and persevered. They’re were times in the early days where I didn’t think I’d ever get through a training session let alone continue into the years I have been training, as it is a very high skill level. The benefits of learning the Thai martial arts are immeasurable," he said.

Graham has a background in Thai boxing that began back in the early 1990’s in his home town of Darlington as part of an effort to raise his own fitness levels.

York Press: Graham Kavanagh before his tripGraham Kavanagh before his trip (Image: Supplied)

He said: "I eventually gave this up many years ago, but the seed was always in my mind. I was still searching for something to do in relation to martial arts.

"The Thai martial arts are where my experience and knowledge in martial arts lies, and there is nothing quite like it."

Krabi Krabong is believed to have begun its life at the Buddhai Swan centuries ago. The system is said to date back thousands of years and is a battlefield skill which is how it differs from other martial arts. 

York Press: Some of the Thai scenerySome of the Thai scenery (Image: Supplied)